Politics

Politics
3:10 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Kentucky General Assembly Nears End. What Passed, What's Left and What's Left for Dead.

Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers working late Tuesday night.
Credit Rae Hodge/Kentucky Public Radio

Kentucky legislators have returned home for the next 12 days after passing a flurry of bills in the recent days of the 2013 General Assembly session.

But many big issues still remain on the table and lawmakers will have two days left—March 25 and 26—to hammer out any remaining issues, including pensions and military voting bills. 

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Politics
2:38 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Congressman John Yarmuth: Democrats Trying to ‘Sabotage’ Ashley Judd Are Making a Mistake

Actress Ashley Judd
Credit Salon

Kentucky Congressman John Yarmuth is defending actress Ashley Judd against fellow Democrats who he says will regret trying to "sabotage" the Hollywood star's candidacy against Republican Senator Mitch McConnell.

For weeks, state Democratic consultants and donors have voiced caution, arguing Judd is too liberal to win in Kentucky and could cost the party seats in the General Assembly. And national Democratic groups are reportedly having second thoughts about Judd running in 2014 as well.

Yarmuth says those naysayers have often been wrong and haven’t presented a viable candidate of their own to take on the GOP leader, adding many should accept Judd is running.

"I absolutely think that some of the Democrats who are trying to sabotage an Ashley Judd campaign are making a very big mistake. There is no alternative to Ashley Judd right now. She is widely popular in Kentucky. She has generated an unprecedented excitement in the media both locally and across the country," he says. "And I think a lot of these people are going to be very embarrassed and have to eat a lot of crow when they have to support her—and they will aggressively support her—in the general election."

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Politics
9:55 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Mitch McConnell's Wife Slams Progress Kentucky in First TV Ad

Credit YouTube.com

In the first TV ad of the 2014 Kentucky Senate race, Republican Mitch McConnell's wife jabs a liberal super PAC for attacking her ethnicity.

As WFPL reported last month, Progress Kentucky sent out a number of messages via Twitter attacking former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, with a focus on her race.

The national backlash forced the group to eventually apologize, and in the 30-second spot Chao says that represents the overall tone of the campaign.

"You've seen the ads attacking my husband.  As Mitch McConnell's wife, I have come to expect them," Chao says in the ad.  "Now, far left special interests are also attacking my ethnicity, even attacking Mitch's patriotism because he's married to me. That's how low some people will stoop."

Watch:

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Politics
11:16 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Kentucky Legislators to Keep Working on Military Voting, Pension Reform After Adjourning Tuesday

Senate President Robert Stivers talks with other legislators.
Credit Rae Hodge/Kentucky Public Radio

FRANKFORT — Two priorities of Kentucky lawmakers will spill over to the so-called veto period of the 2013 legislative sessions after the issues could not be resolved by the end of Tuesday.

Legislators were unable to compromise on pension reform and the military electronic voting bill before both legislative chambers adjourned until March 25.

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Politics
7:06 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Congressmen John Yarmuth and Thomas Massie Offer Differing Viewpoints on New Ryan Budget Plan

Congress John Yarmuth, D-Ky., calls the new Ryan budget plan 'cruel.'
Credit U.S. Congress

Led by former Republican vice presidential nominee and Congressman Paul Ryan, the House GOP unveiled its 2014 budget proposal this week

Dubbed 'Path to Prosperity' the spending plan cuts $6.4 trillion from the deficit over the next ten years, slashes corporate taxes by 10 percent and simplifies the tax code by turning seven individual tax brackets into two.

Conservatives also highlight provisions such as authorizing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, an overhaul of Medicare for retirees and another attempt to fully repeal President Obama's health care law.

But liberal critics are slamming the budget for various reasons, including the fact that it cuts domestic services but not defense.

From The Washington Post:

He cuts deep into spending on health care for the poor and some combination of education, infrastructure, research, public-safety, and low-income programs. The Affordable Care Act’s Medicare cuts, but the military is spared, as is Social Security.

There’s a vague individual tax reform plan that leaves only two tax brackets — 10 percent and 25 percent — and will require either huge, deficit-busting tax cuts or increasing taxes on poor and middle-class households, as well as a vague corporate tax reform plan that lowers the rate from 35 percent to 25 percent.

(SNIP)

Ryan’s budget is intended to do nothing less than fundamentally transform the relationship between Americans and their government.

Democratic Congressman Yarmuth is more blunt. He says the proposal is cruel and only plays to extreme elements in the GOP.

"It’s one that was repudiated by Mitt Romney last year during the presidential campaign and is one that’s become a liability for Republicans who embraced it. So I’m really hard pressed to understand why Congressman Ryan would double down on what was obviously something that was rejected decisively during the 2012 election," he says.

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Politics
4:52 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Gov. Steve Beshear: No Deal on Pension Reform In Sight, Special Session Becomes More Likely

Steve Beshear
Credit Rae Hodge/Kentucky Public Radio

With no deal and time running out, a special session is becoming more likely for Kentucky lawmakers to reform the underfunded pension programs for state employees, Gov. Steve Beshear said on Tuesday.

It's unlikely that the General Assembly will address pension reform before legislators leave Frankfort after Tuesday for a brief period called the veto break, Beshear said. Legislators have 

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Politics
3:59 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Team Mitch Launching First TV Ad This Week

Senator Mitch McConnell
Credit File photo

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell will be running his first TV ad for re-election in Kentucky this week.

McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton confirmed with WFPL it will be a "positive buy" costing six figures and will begin airing Thursday.

Thus far, the GOP leader has been pummeled by attack ads from liberal groups on gun regulations and birth control.

"Every out-of-state liberal group with an axe to grind is desperate to tear Mitch down at all costs, but we're going to make sure we communicate our positive message to every voter in the commonwealth," says Benton.

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Politics
3:16 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Groups Plan Rally Urging Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear to Veto ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill

Over four-dozen groups are planning a rally to pressure Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear to block the so-called 'religious freedom' bill.

The measure would allow citizens to ignore laws and regulations based on their religious faith, and it passed both chambers of the General Assembly by an overwhelming margin. Supporters argue the law simply reaffirms the rights for people of faith that have been stripped by the courts.

Those against HB 279 contend lawmakers failed to closely examine the measure or debate its consequences, which they say could threaten civil rights protections for racial minorities, women and LGBT residents.

"It is a moment of political courage for the governor," says Louisville Fairness Campaign Director Chris Hartman. "But I think it’s also a moment to send this legislation back to the House to re-address the concerns that it didn’t address the first time when it hastily passed this measure. Up to a day before the bill was called to the House floor it was losing co-sponsors as people were learning more and more about the unintended consequences."

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Politics
3:12 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Compromise Reached, Special Taxing District Reform to Become Law

Adam Edelen
Credit File photo

Kentucky lawmakers reached a deal Monday in a conference committee on legislation addressing issues with special taxing districts.

The committee adopted a new proposal that would require special districts to present their annual budgets or any new fee increases to their local fiscal court. But the compromise on House Bill 1 does not allow the fiscal court veto or approval powers of the special district's actions, as Senate Republicans had recently suggested.

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Politics
2:00 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Outgoing Young Republicans Chair: Backing Mitch McConnell Caused Loss to Tea Party Activist

Louisville Young Republicans
Credit http://louisvilleyr.org/

The outgoing chair of the Louisville Young Republicans says he lost his seat to a Tea Party activist due to publicly supporting Senator Mitch McConnell’s re-election campaign.

James Young had served as the group's leader since last year, but lost re-election to Louisville Tea Party Vice President Andrew Schachtner this week.

The chair position was the only contested seat in the group's elections Monday.

Young says he didn't begin to receiving threats of opposition until he began defending McConnell on this station.

"I'm very confident my appearance fueled some ideas in the minds of people looking for opportunities," he says. "There was an instance where I was specifically told through other individuals that ‘hey there are some people very upset within Tea Party organization that view you using your position to support Senator McConnell' and influencing others to do so."

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